Forum October

The Law of Reciprocity - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan:

'Art of Personality'

(see also Counsellor)

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In dealing with one another we ought first to consider in what relation we stand to our fellow being, and then to consider what manner of dealing would please us on the part of another who is related to us in the same way as we are to him. In all favourable actions we ought to do more than we should expect another to do for us; and in unfavourable actions we ought to do less than what we should expect on the part of another.

Duty must first be born in our mind, to consider in what relation we stand with regard to our relatives, neighbors, fellow-citizens, the people of our nation and of our race, and with the people in the world at large. For instance, favour shown to a neighbor and disregard to a relative in the home, sympathy shown to a foreigner while we feel bitter towards our own nation, these dealings, however unselfish and broad-minded they may appear, are undesirable. It is just like trying to make a sketch of a human face before even having learned how to draw a straight or a parallel line.

Charity begins at home. We should first begin to practice our sympathy with those who are related to us, for we are in duty bound to look after them and their interests. But instead of widening our sympathies, we keep within our own small circle; thus we may perhaps never progress in life or advance to the higher standard of humanity. This is one of the drawbacks to modern civilization, which confines itself to the thought of nationalism and advances no further. Yet even this is better than the broad-mindedness which makes us favour the outsider, and neglect and even disfavour those related to us.

The best way would be gradually to widen our sympathies, with a consideration of our duty and relationship to others, gradually expanding them from those who are nearest to us to those who are most remote. A sense of generosity and willingness should go hand in hand with duty; if not, instead of a blessing it becomes a curse.

Do not accept that which you cannot return,

 for the balance of life is in reciprocity.


Gayan - Boulas

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